Even in elementary school, girls have no tolerance for boys’ inappropriate behavior! This week the Huffington Post shared an adorable list of rules that a 5th grade student wrote to her classmate after he apparently got too close for comfort. The girl entitled her list “Rules + Regulations” and addressed it to her classmate, Noah. It included rules such as, “Do not touch my shoulder,” and “Do not get behind me with all that playing + foolishness.” She also ordered that he stop playing with her on the bus and not talk to her unless in a greeting, which she assured him would never happen. In conclusion, she made sure to let him know she is not interested in him as a boyfriend and would call her dad, her mother’s friend, her “fake mom,” and a janitor if he were to break any of her rules.
This hilarious list was posted on twitter by a friend of the fifth grade teacher who apparently found the letter. First of all, let’s just talk about how adorable this is. We love a kid who has no problem standing up for herself by using her words and kick-ass communication skills to verbalize exactly what the problem is and how it must be fixed. And she clearly put a lot of time and energy into this list of rules, as it is detailed and colorful.
On a more serious note, beyond giving us a laugh, this list actually says something very important about girls, boys, and the importance of drawing a clear line about what is appropriate and what isn’t. Oftentimes, amongst young school children, a bit of touching (such as the alleged shoulder touching that seems to have happened here) is thought of as harmless play, regardless of the gender of the children involved. When young boys physically touch young girls in either a teasing or flirtatious manner, it tends to be written off as “boys will be boys,” or even as being cute or funny. The reality is, that mentality teaches children that it is ok to touch others without their consent. If a boy is taught that it is funny or somehow cute for him to touch the shoulder of a girl who does not want to be touched, who is to say he won’t grow up to believe it is ok to touch grown women in ways that they have not consented to? We are glad that girls are defending themselves and letting boys know this behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.